Image: Mayor Glenn Andersen & Director of Emergency Services Trevor Kotowich last year Photo Credit: A Wink & A Smile Photography.
Glenn Andersen thinks his experience as a town councillor in St. Paul before coming mayor was important. It taught him a lot about how municipal politics works.
“One term was not enough. I think if you’re doing justice for the position if you’re running for the position, I think at least two terms. Put some effort in. I know sometimes it might not be for everybody but two terms and you can see what a difference you can make in the community,” said Andersen.
Andersen is testing himself for another position. He will be running against the United Conservative Party nominee in next year’s MLA race as the Alberta Party representative.
“I got interested in this party because this party for Albertans. We’re going to call it a balance from the NDP on the left and the UCP on the right. This party is a little more to the right and progressive, but it’s sort of the middle of the spectrum.”
“Here we diversity north, south, east, and west. We have different issues. I think that’s where government has to be inclusive and listen to people, and that’s where the MLA’s come in.”
The Alberta Party chose Stephen Mandel, former mayor of Edmonton, as their leader earlier this year.
The party is “getting there” in Andersen’s eyes. They have three seats in the legislature, all in Calgary ridings. They believe in giving a voice for Albertans and fiscal responsiblilty.
“What we’re trying to do is giving you another choice. We’re giving you a choice that’s not all the way to the left or all the way to the right. More progressive than the left. We’re trying to give Albertans a voice.”
“As a municipal politician, a former one, I think you’re mandated to have a balanced budget. And you can’t go over it. Part of the Alberta Party’s stance is to be fiscally responsible. I think that’s important. They don’t like the fact, my age group is probably dumping all the debt on you, and then on your kids.”
When asked about the carbon tax, Andersen admits “nobody likes it.”
“What they did do when they put in the carbon tax was impact a lot of Canadians and Albertans, and gave minimum wage earners a raise, then taxed them on heating, fueling, and the gas in their vehicle to get to work. So I’m not sure about the logistics of that. I never thought we’d be paying tax on our heating.”
Andersen thinks healthcare is a big issue for the constituency moving forward.
“It’s all based on statistics for healthcare. As soon as you start going outside to Edmonton, then your postal code goes with you and the money from say, you, goes to Edmonton for your health care. The more people who did that will kill rural Alberta.”
Roads and infrastructure also top his list of issues.
“We have some challenges. How do we promote ourselves economically? Lakeland provincial park is a big asset but we haven’t done anything with it. The provincial government has pretty much ignored all the people who are involved with trails.”
“We are the lakeland area, but you can’t keep a fish. There’s a lot of fishing regulations. Who does that attract to here? That doesn’t help us either.”
Andersen says it’s a challenge that municipalities have to share revenue to get projects done, or wait to see if the provincial government will help.
“Until that happens, municipalities can’t budget. They’re going on whoever is in government, and will they give me anything?”
Andersen is banking on a steady record of municipal governance in St. Paul and his experience in infrastructure to guide him to an upset win in the typically conservative area of Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul.
“I believe I work hard and I believe I’m there for the right reasons. I’m very adamant about working for the people who put you in there. All people, not just certain people. I’m not going to be influenced by certain people.”
“I’ll take your issues to the table which is what an MLA should do…I think my experience has led me to this.”